Jury finds former teacher guilty of assault on a public servant

Jenny Thomas guilty of third-degree felony

A former McCulloch County teacher is now a convicted felon after a McCulloch County jury found Jennifer Faith Thomas guilty Tuesday of assaulting a public servant, a third-degree

Jennifer Faith Thomas

felony.

The jury sentenced her to six years incarceration in TDC, but suspended that sentence and also assessed a $6,000 fine and court costs. Since the prison time was suspended, the judge set the probation for a period of 10 years.

The charge stems from an incident that occurred on Dec. 3, 2015 when Texas Ranger Joel Timms attempted to serve a search warrant authorizing him to confiscate her cell phone as part of an investigation of allegations of Mrs. Thomas having improper relations with a student.

The incident happened at Lohn School where, at the time,  Mrs. Thomas was employed as an educator.

According to court testimony, Ranger Timms had arranged with school administrators to meet with Thomas in a private area. Only Timms and Thomas were inside the room when an altercation ensued.

Timms testified that she threw herself to the ground and hit, pinched and kicked him resulting in bodily pain.

She testified that he threw her to the ground and snatched the phone.

Both testimonies were included as evidence as was an audio recording Timms had of the entire altercation.

The state had to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, in order for a guilty verdict to be determined. It took the jury less than an hour to reach a unanimous guilty verdict.

The assault and arrest occurred on Dec. 3, 2015. Thomas was indicted on Dec. 15, 2015 by a McCulloch County grand jury on a felony charge of improper relationship between an educator and a student, but that case was dropped in January when official papers were submitted to 452nd District Court Clerk dismissing the charge against her of having improper relations between an educator and a student.

According to the document that was submitted by District Attorney Tonya Ahlschwede and filed on Jan. 26, the complaining witness has requested dismissal of the case.

“In a case where there is an allegation of an improper relationship between educator and student, the prosecution relies heavily, if not totally, upon the testimony of the student,” said Assistant District Attorney Steve Lupton. “When the allegation is made by the student, then the prosecution begins, but if the student later retracts his or her allegation, then there is insufficient evidence to proceed.  In the state’s case against Jennifer Thomas, the student who originally made the allegation of improper relationship has now retracted that statement.  There is, therefore, insufficient evidence on which to proceed at this time.

“A dismissal of the case was therefore forwarded to the District Judge. Any case that is dismissed prior to trial is subject to further investigation in the event new evidence is brought forward.”

The document submitted to the district clerk signed by District Judge Rob Hofmann does indicate that the state reserves the right to re-indict Mrs. Thomas.

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